20 Things You Didn’t Know About Chuck E. Cheese’s Slideshow

This famed chain is celebrating its 40th year in business

20 Things You Didn’t Know About Chuck E. Cheese’s

As a kid, an invite to a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese’s was a cause for celebration in itself. Games, pizza, and those legendary animatronic characters awaited, as well as the promise of piles of tickets and a couple fun prizes. But we bet that there’s a lot you didn’t know about this popular chain, and if you haven’t visited in a while, you’ll find that a lot has changed.

It Was Founded by the Co-Founder of Atari

The concept for Chuck E. Cheese’s was created by Nolan Bushnell, who is perhaps more famous for co-founding pioneering video game company Atari.

The Mascot Was Originally Supposed to Be a Coyote

Bushnell originally wanted to name his concept Coyote Pizza, and purchased what he thought was a coyote costume for his first animatronic. But it was pointed out that he in fact had bought a mouse costume by mistake, and the rest is history.

Chuck E. Cheese Didn't Appear in the Logo Until 1980

Chuck E. Cheese Didn't Appear in the Logo Until 1980

The company was called Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Time Theatre for the first couple years of its life; it wasn’t until 1980 that Chuck E. was introduced as the face of the brand.

The First International Location Opened in 1986

It was in Guatemala City, Guatemala.

It Was Called Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Until 1994

It Was Called Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Until 1994
Wikimedia Commons/ Try to Love Again

The word “Pizza” was dropped from the name in that year, and since then it’s just been called Chuck E. Cheese’s.

It Was Called Charlie Cheese's in Australia

When locations opened in Australia in the 1980s, they were called Charlie Cheese’s Pizza Playhouse. “Chuck” was swapped out because in Australia it’s another word for throwing up.

It Recently Broke a Guinness Record

On May 19, 2017, it set the Guinness World Record for the most people blowing party blowers simultaneously for 10 seconds.

It Gave Nick Jonas His Big Break

It Gave Nick Jonas His Big Break
Everett Collection/Shutterstock.com

Jonas actually got his start in show business back around the turn of the millennium, when he starred in a commercial for the chain. You can watch it here.

It Goes Through 8.5 Million Pounds of Mozzarella Every Year

That’s a lot of (Chuck E.) cheese!

It's America's Eighth-Largest Pizza Chain

According to Pizza Today, it ranks behind only Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Little Caesars, Papa John’s, Papa Murphy’s, California Pizza Kitchen, and Sbarro in terms of 2016 gross sales for pizza chains.

Some Locations Hold a Special Event for Autistic Children Every Month

On the first Sunday of every month, many locations lower the lights and sounds during a new program geared toward autistic children called Sensory Sensitive Sundays.

It Distributes 6 Million Tickets Every Year

The company has dabbled with replacing them with a personalized card, but kids love winning those stacks of tickets!

A New Limited Time Offer Menu Item Is Released Every Quarter

In the past it’s included head-turners like spaghetti and meatball pizza, but it’s currently the Triple Pepperoni Pizza.

There Are No More Ballpits

If you remember playing in those big ballpits when you were a kid, you might be surprised to learn that those were phased out back in 1994 and replaced with Sky Tubes.

All the Animatronic Characters Have Names

Chuck E. Cheese is of course the frontman, but other band members include Helen Henny (vocals), Mr. Munch (vocals, keyboards), Jasper T. Jowls (vocals, guitar), and Pasqually E. Pieplate (vocals, percussion). Crusty the Cat was rolled out with the rest of the gang in 1977 but replaced with Mr. Munch a year later.

Two Different Costumed Shows Are Performed

Along with the animatronic characters, real costumed humans also put on a few shows. The “live” show is performed on stage during birthday parties, and the “road” show takes place throughout the venue.

There Are Several Different Styles of Animatronic Show in Use

Depending on the age of the location and whether it’s been recently renovated, guests can see a few different versions of the animatronic show these days. Since 1998, for example, Chuck E. has been the only animatronic figure at new locations, with the rest of the characters on TV screens.

There Are Plenty of Coupons and Deals on the Website

You can find them here; they’ll save you money on things like food and tokens, and there are also weekday specials and deals for military families.

It Offers Gluten-Free Pizza

The company offers a gluten-free crust with customizable toppings. The national rollout of the gluten-free crust will be complete late summer or early fall.

Every Location's Menu Is Slightly Different

New appetizers, wraps, thin and crispy pepperoni pizzas, and treats like churros are available at some locations.